Open Space Land Acquisition Committee
The Hebron Open Space Land Acquisition Committee, formed by Town Ordinance on June 4, 1998, consists of seven members including one representative for each of the following Boards or Commissions: Board of Selectmen and Finance, and the Planning and Zoning, Parks and Recreation and Conservation Commissions. Two members from the public also serve on the Committee. The Committee is charged with the responsibility of evaluating and recommending open space land purchases to the Board of Selectmen.
The Ordinance also created a Hebron Open Space Land Acquisition Fund, to be used for preservation and acquisition of open space. The Fund is financed primarily by an annual appropriation of up to ½ of a mil as approved in the town budget. Land Acquisition funds are also derived from fees received by the Town in lieu of open space dedications required with subdivision applications, from state grants and from voluntary contributions. Open Space land can be acquired or preserved through direct purchase by the Town, by the acquisition of conservation easements or by the purchase of development rights.
Committee’s Recent Work:
The Committee continued to work closely with other Town boards and land use commissions in open space planning and evaluating open space preservation possibilities, especially for those parcels that can be linked into a town-wide greenway system.
The Committee identified its four highest priority areas within the town for open space preservation: The Fawn Brook/West Branch Fawn Brook corridor, the Raymond Brook Marsh area and the Judd Brook area for passive recreational and natural resource protection and the Gilead Hill area for farmland preservation.
Open Space Acquisitions:
In April 2010 the Town purchased the Mussman properties located along the Air Line Trail, within the Raymond Brook Marsh, a State-wide Wetland of Special Concern. This valuable 94-acre open space purchase within the town’s Aquifer Protection Zone abuts several large parcels and State and Town open space providing an expanded undisturbed area of wildlife protection, especially for migratory birds.
In May 2010 the Town purchased the 32-acre Horton parcel on Kinney Road. This parcel provides a vital component of an extended greenway that could eventually link the State Air Line Trail to the Town’s business center. The parcel provides future access and expansion to the nearly abutting the 65-acre Church Street Park and adds to an important buffer between planned development in the Town Center and the Raymond Brook Marsh, supplementing continued efforts to protect the high water quality of the Marsh. Also in May 2010, the Town applied to the State for an open space land acquisition grant for the purchase of the Horton parcel. The Town was awarded the grant, its third such award, in October 2010.
Open Space acquisition continued in 2011 with the purchase of the 20 acre Harasimowitz parcel on Old Colchester Road which land comprises part of the Judd Brook Marsh wetland system. In 2012 the Town accepted a gift of 14 acres of the Reed parcel on Church Street which abuts the Hebron Elementary School site as well as existing Town Open Space along the Jeremy River system. In 2013, the Town concluded purchase of the 50 acre Cardillo property which contained lands in and adjacent to the Raymond Brook Marsh and other State and Town owned open space properties in this valuable wetland system of Statewide significance. Half of the funding of this open space purchase came from another State Open Space grant. And in 2014 the Town concluded the purchase of the Michaud parcel, an additional 3.5 acre parcel adjacent to the recently purchased Cardillo parcel.
Together with other open space purchases which have occurred since the adoption of the Open Space Land Acquisition Fund and the Committee, the Town has preserved 491 acres of farm and forestland. Also, during this same time-frame, the Town contributed to the purchase by the State of CT of an additional 195 acres of other valuable farm and forestland in Hebron, including open space along the Air Line Trail. This is in addition to 411 acres of development rights purchased by the State of CT to preserve farmland in Hebron. Overall, this accounts for over 1,000 acres preserved in Hebron since 1998. This cooperative effort, as well as Hebron success in securing open space preservation grants, has resulted in the preservation of open space while maximizing the effectiveness of the Town’s funds.
Town’s Open Space Inventory:
Please click on the following link to view Hebron current inventory of Open Space Parcels:
Hebron Open Space Map.
The Committee is chaired by Selectman, Brian O’Connell, with the full membership as follows: